Frustrations and Cake [Banana Cake with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting]

It’s been a bit of a week over here in my neck of the woods. There were some contract renewal issues at my office, issues meaning no one renewed the contract, and today marks the third day of a forced unpaid vacation. I’m sure you can only imagine how utterly impressed I am about it all.

The current state of events has left me feeling a little mopey, lost and lethargic without a job to go to in the mornings. I’m by no means a work-a-holic, but I do prefer to have some sort of purpose in my day-to-day routine. I guess you could call me a ‘get-out-of-bed-and-do-something-a-holic’.

Now, with no where to go and nothing pressing to do, the most obvious purpose of my day was to bake a cake. That’s what normal people do when there is nothing else to do, yes? I thought you’d agree. 

It’s pretty normal around these parts to find a few bananas hanging out patiently in the freezer until I’m ready to call them up to play. And yesterday was their day to enter the big leagues.

Let me tell you, there is simply no better way to spend a rainy afternoon, than taking some looming frustrations out on a bag of flour, some mashed bananas and a little cream cheese. Especially when you have a very sweet friend making you dinner who appreciates the simple pleasures of a slice of heaven and a cuppa tea.

Banana Cake with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting
adapted slightly from Whipped The Blog

This cake is wonderfully rich and moist and makes a great dessert, snack or even…ahem… breakfast. Be sure to have a friend around to share with. It makes a good sized cake. If you’re not much for spice, feel free to leave them out and have a simple banana cake with plain cream cheese frosting.

1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom
2 cups cake flour, sifted
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg + 1 yolk, slightly beaten
1 cup bananas (very ripe or if frozen, thawed), mashed
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375.

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together. Scrape the sides of the bowl down and add the eggs. Give it another 20 second mix and scrape the bowl down again. Add the mashed bananas, mix until combined. Add the buttermilk and flour in a few additions, mixing to combine in between additions. Scrape the bowl one last time and give it a 10 second mix on medium to be sure everything is well combined.

Pour batter into two 8” pans that have been buttered and floured, see instructions here.

I like to bake the cakes separately, but feel free to bake them in the oven at the same time. Bake for 20-25 minutes, checking after 20 for doneness. A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean. If there is still batter on the pick, put cake back in for a few more minutes. Remove from oven and cool in pan 5 minutes before moving to a mesh/wire rack to cool completely.

As mentioned, feel free to leave spices out. Substitute 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract for a simple cream cheese frosting.

4 oz cream cheese, softened
6 tbsp butter, softened
1 tbsp sour cream
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom
pinch nutmeg
pinch allspice
3- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Toasted walnuts or pecans to garnish (optional)

Add butter and cream cheese to the bowl of your mixer and cream until combined. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix on low, so as not explode sugar in your face, until starting to combine. Scrape bowl and mix on medium until desired texture is achieved. Add more sugar if it’s too loose, add milk/water 1 tbsp at a  time if too dry.

I iced the whole cake, but feel free to ice the middle and top of the cake if you like a little less frosting.

(so I nibbled a little off the top…. sue me)

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